Last year I delivered sandwiches by bike for Jimmy John's. It was sooo much fun! However I didn't feel comfortable going back due to too many young delivery guys that didn't appreciate an old guy that hustled on his bike.
So this year I bough a bicycle rickshaw. I purchased it in July and it still isn't operational. It's been a headache and I wanted to share rickshaw risks with everyone.
A rickshaw is half bicycle and half motorcycle cross. The front is a bicycle with standard headset, fork, handlebars. Mine had a worn out headset which was easy to replace. However I needed a short stack headset and they are no longer manufactured. Hence I was unable to install the locknut on the headset. I used removable lock tight to hold the headset in place. So be careful with the headsets....they may be more complicated than a bike due to the long steerer. Keep in mind forks with 12" steerer tubes have more play than a standard forks, that is not a problem.
The cables & housing were rusted, they we're easy to replace. The cranks and bottom bracket we're one piece style. I replaced them with standard three piece bottom bracket and cranks.
The bike had no offset, so it was going to be really hard to pedal. Human bodies need some offset to generate more power while pedaling. The saddle and seatpost were easy to swap... so I created some offset.
The cranks were a cheap 1 piece setup with no threading in the BB shell. I have never seen such a system before. I had to press fit a threaded BB shell. Then I installed a normal BB/crank setup with 22T small ring.
Then we got to the rough motorcycle stuff. The rear axle was bent. It is really hard to bend, and you will need a machine shop to unbend it....I tried to remove the bend by loading the rickshaw in the center with over 1000lbs and I was able to get half of the bend out. However I was unable to make any more progress.
The rear axle was one wheel drive. I believe this is normal for many rickshaws. This caused it to pull to one side. This is not safe, so I locked out the other axle with super large washers placed on the bearing. It is now two wheel drive.
To work on the rickshaw the body flips up on the frame. I didn't know the body bolts needed to be removed before it is lifted. Well I tore the metal connection between the frame and body. Fixing this is rough. I got a welder to repair it. However the metal was so thin, it just broke off. Then I got the welder to create two thick pieces of steel that I bolted to the body & frame. The one side is perfect, while the other was welded too short. Eventually, I got this problem solved.
The brakes are motorcycle style in the rear, and bull dog up front. The front brakes are worthless and the rear have been inconsistent. I hope to resolve this soon, and hopefully I'll use it soon.
If you are looking at a rickshaw you must inspect the rear axle ( it needs to be straight ). The axle must be two wheel drive. The connection from the frame to body is most likely broken and rewelded repeatedly. You will need a welder and/or machine shop to fix it.
Have any questions? Let me know. I will be riding the rickshaw in Greensboro most evenings in the summer.